Cricket: Ponting keen to play on

Ricky Ponting says he can't see a finish line in his international cricket career, despite a poor summer.

The man who captained Australia to an Ashes series defeat for a third time averaged only 16.14 with the bat in the first four Tests in November-December before missing the Sydney finale with a broken finger.

Now still nursing the smashed finger, the 36-year-old Tasmanian is putting his amazing World Cup record on the line in the subcontinent.

Australia were due to play Sri Lanka in Colombo overnight after the defending champions opened their campaign with wins over Zimbabwe and New Zealand.

Winners of the title in 1999, 2003 and 2007, including the past two tournaments without losing a match under Ponting's leadership, Australia are facing enormous pressure on the subcontinent.

Ponting is Test cricket's second-leading runscorer and the third-leading scorer in one-day international history, but he too is under pressure after scoring 28 and 12 in his side's first two World Cup games.

Support came this week from Sri Lanka's world record-holder spinner Muthiah Muralidaran, who's embarking on his final World Cup campaign at 38.

"That's up to him, how his form and fitness, how badly he wants to play," Muralidaran said.

"He's a great player. He can definitely play if he wanted to."

Ponting says he'd love to keep playing as long as he feels he can contribute to the national team.

"I've said all along I don't want to be standing in anyone's way. If there are players better than me to play one-day cricket or Test cricket... if that's the case I'm happy to move aside," Ponting said on the eve of the Sri Lanka clash.

"I've had a low-scoring summer and even in the first couple of games here I've been down on what I would have liked.

"But I'm training well, probably had as good a training session as I've had in a long time two days ago so that's a good sign.

"Hopefully you'll see my experience come through.

"I honestly haven't seen a finish-line yet, which is a good thing. Every day is still a challenge training-wise and game-wise.

"One thing I'm proud of is the amount of cricket I've been able to play and some of the wins I've been involved in.

"All the runs and hundreds are great but they've never been the reason why I've played the game... nothing's different now."

- AAP

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